2012 was a great year for the Japanese scene in general. Things aren't the same as before obviously, without K-1 having the same major presence that it once did, but Krush, RISE and other promotions have more than done their part in keeping the Japanese scene alive and well. What matters is consistency, and that's what a lot of Japanese promotions have and had in 2012. They aren't going to get as big as K-1 once was and that's perfectly fine. What matters is consistency, and as we've seen, great fight cards and solid crowds were common in 2012. Going into this year, things look great, especially for RISE and Krush.
One of the major things that Krush and RISE did in 2012 was have a significant increase in foreign fighters being brought in. That created marquee match-ups, made for some great fights and really made it much easier to get a sense of the landscape of lower weight divisions. These types of fights seem to be getting even better, as today Masahiro Yamamoto vs. Karim Bennoui was announced for RISE 92 on March 17. Krush already has their Krush Grand Prix 67kg event coming up on January 14 with a one night tournament featuring some of Japan's top talent at the weight along with some formidable foreign opposition as well as one super fight between one of Japan's best and a foreigner (Shota Takiya vs. Mike Alamos). Krush is even stepping up in terms of venue for the event, as it'll be held at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium, which holds a bit over a thousand more than Korakuen Hall.
Krush has already laid out their event schedule for this year, which sees 15 events take place, with every month having an event except for February. RISE also recently started partnering with fellow Japanese promotion M-1 to hold combined fight cards featuring Muay Thai and kickboxing, and it looks as if that will continue. That's not even mentioning the numerous other Japanese promotions that put on quality events with quality fighters like NJKF, MA Kick or REBELS to name a few.
A lot of people that don't know any better may think that the Japanese scene has dwindled along with K-1 but that couldn't be any further from the truth. Quality events are being held every month and crowds are consistently drawn, very small venues or not. Obviously kickboxing isn't as big as it once was but there's a loyal, niche fanbase that keeps things going, along with the promotions that make things happen. RISE and Krush are just two of the major ones that have seen notable growth and consistency in the past year.
Yes, it would be great if we were able to get video of all the events that take place in Japan, but at the same time I don't blame them for things being the way they are in that regard. They're all focused on Japan and the Japanese scene and it just really isn't necessary for the promotions over there to cater to us. With that being said, the kickboxing and Muay Thai scene in Japan looks like it will continue to stay consistent and provide quality events and fights, along with continuing to pump out solid fighters, whether we see all of them or not.